Policies for Cases of Sexual Misconduct
A. Pre-Disciplinary Hearing Information & Procedures.
Off-Campus Complaints: Alfred State takes judicial jurisdiction to the extent practical and possible, over all sexual misconduct cases as long as the person charged is a student, regardless of the enrollment status of the alleged victim,
The College will also take judicial jurisdiction to the extent practical and possible, over all sexual misconduct cases that occur off campus, if the person being charged and the alleged victim is a student and the impact of the assault is likely to have a substantial effect on the alleged victim’s on-campus life and activities, or if the incident poses a threat or danger.
To the extent practical and possible, Alfred State may also take judicial jurisdiction over students charged with off-campus sexual misconduct cases where the alleged victim is not a student. Complaints can also be brought against students when incidents take place during a period when the College is not in session (such as spring break). This policy does not include adjudicating incidents that occurred before the accused was matriculated or after the student has graduated. The College cannot hear complaints against students who have graduated.
B. Rights of Complainant and Respondent for Cases of Sexual Misconduct or Bias-Related Harassment
It is the goal of Alfred State to ensure that student victims (complainant) and the student accused (respondent) of sexual misconduct or bias-related harassment have access to needed resources, services, and information. Alfred State strives to offer a reasonable parity of resources, services, and information, to the extent possible, to all parties to the complaint, including, but not limited to, the following rights:
Rights of Complainant (Victim): It is the goal of Alfred State to ensure that students alleging sexual misconduct or bias-related harassment have access to needed resources, services, and information including:
- The right of the victim to be treated with respect by College officials;
- The right not to be discouraged by the College officials from reporting a sexual misconduct or bias-related offense;
- The right to a College “No Contact” condition (for student victims) against another student who has engaged in or threatens to engage in stalking, threatening, harassing, or other improper behavior that presents a danger to the welfare of the complaining student or others;
- The right to have complaints of sexual assault or bias-related harassment responded to quickly and with sensitivity by University Police;
- The right to be informed of their options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police, and the option to be assisted by College Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) advocates (for AS students involved in complaints of sexual misconduct), if the student so chooses. This also includes their right not to report, if this if the victim’s desire;
- The right to be notified of available medical services, counseling, mental health, or student services for victims of sexual assault, both at the College and in the community;
- The right to notification of options for, and available assistance in, changing academic and living (campus residential) situations after an alleged sexual assault or bias-related harassment incident is reported, if requested by the victim and if such changes are reasonably available (no disciplinary charges or completed investigation, College or criminal, need occur before this option is available);
- The right to be accompanied by another member of the College community (defined as a faculty or staff member of the College community) to serve as “adviser.” An adviser is permitted to advise the student in the organization of their thoughts and presentation of materials and can advise the student directly in the hearing. (Adviser may not address the hearing board or any other individuals prohibiting testimony and may not respond to any questions for the respondent. Advisers may be present at hearings only. Members of the press and attorneys are prohibited from serving as advisers during a sexual misconduct disciplinary hearing);
- As noted below in the section titled Rights of the Respondent, in instances where the College has been informed that criminal charges have been filed against the respondent, the respondent may choose to have their attorney present for the sole purpose of advising their client whether or not to answer questions. In such a situation, the same courtesy will be extended to the complainant as well. Attorneys for either the respondent or complainant may not serve in any other capacity during the hearing including speaking on the behalf of their clients, or questioning/addressing those present.
- The right not to have irrelevant, prior sexual history admitted in a College hearing;
- The right to review all written statements regarding any discussion that will be presented following an initial conference (and prior to the disciplinary hearing);
- Ask questions of the hearing board and via the hearing board indirectly request responses from the complainant and any other witnesses present);
- The right to make an impact statement at the conclusion of the disciplinary hearing;
- The right to write a victim-impact statement to the disciplinary panel prior to rendering a final disciplinary decision;
- In accordance with Victims Right to Know law, in cases of physical violence/harassment, and sexual assault the complainant/victim is provided with copies of the respondent’s initial conference and disposition letters. In addition, in these cases the complainant/victim also has the right to attend the respondent’s hearing;
- The right to receive a draft decision, in writing, of the hearing officer or panel’s preliminary decision and provide comment (appeal), also in writing, within four (4) business days to the hearing panel before a final decision is rendered;
- The victim does not have a right to appeal the final decision rendered by the disciplinary hearing panel.
Rights of the Respondent (Accused Student); Students charged with one or more violations of the sexual misconduct code have a right to:
- Be treated with respect by College officials;
- The right to be notified of available medical services, counseling, mental health, or other student services related to an incident of sexual assault or bias-related harassment, both at the College and in the community;
- The right to request assistance in changing one’s academic and living (campus residential) situations after an alleged sexual misconduct or bias-related harassment incident if such changes are reasonably available (no disciplinary charges or investigation, College or criminal, need occur before this option is available);
- Receive a written statement of the specific charges.If requested, student will be allowed to examine any written statements of evidence that the College plans to submit to the hearing body (written statements are normally reviewed at the initial conference with a campus judicial hearing officer or the associate dean for judicial affairs);
- Reasonable time to prepare for the hearing;
- The right to review all written statements regarding any discussion that will be presented following an initial conference (prior to the disciplinary hearing);
- Be present at the hearing during the presentation of any matters on which a decision may be based;
- Present an explanation of his/her situation/circumstances at the hearing and ask individuals to present information on his/her behalf. However, should the student fail to appear at scheduled time and place, the hearing will be held in his/her absence;
- Be accompanied by another member of the College community (defined as a faculty or staff member of the College community) to serve as “adviser.” Adviser is permitted to advise the student charged in the organization of their thoughts and presentation of materials and can advise the student directly in the hearing. Adviser may not address the hearing board or any other individuals providing testimony and may not respond to any questions for the respondent. Advisers may be present at hearings only. Members of the press and attorneys are prohibited from serving as advisers);
- The only exception to this clause is when the College has been notified by law enforcement officials that criminal charges have been filed against the respondent. In these instances only the respondent may have an attorney present solely for the purpose of protecting the respondent against self-incrimination in a future court proceeding. The attorney may not serve in any other capacity during the hearing including speaking on behalf of the respondent or questioning/addressing those present.
- Ask questions of the hearing board and via the hearing board indirectly request responses from the complainant and any other witnesses present;
- Reserve the right not to answer questions. No negative presumption will be presumed by the disciplinary hearing panel if any individual does not respond to a question;
- Present a summary-impact statement at the close of the hearing (also reserved for the complainant);
- An expeditious hearing of the student’s case;
- A written report of the preliminary results and findings of the hearing within four(4) business days of the hearing (unless the hearing panel requires additional days in rendering a decision);
- The right to appeal the final decision of the hearing panel or administrative hearing officer to the vice president for student affairs (or designee) and in accordance with the standards for appeal established in the Student Code of Conduct.
C. Removing Respondent from Residential or Academic Environment
The College will remove a respondent from her/his living unit and/or academic setting, if requested by the complainant and the College finds it is reasonable to do so (space available, etc.). Although such an administrative action by the College may seem unfair to the respondent, it may be necessary action so that the College can protect the rights of the complainant and minimize any further interaction that may occur if left unaddressed. This decision is implemented by the vice president for student affairs or designee.
D. Interim Suspension – Removal from the College until Hearing
The College can also choose to invoke an interim suspension with alleged infractions of sexual misconduct and can be invoked when the College believes there is evidence that the respondent may pose a risk to the safety and well-being of others prior to the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings.
E. Size and Composition of Sexual Misconduct Panels
Sexual misconduct is a complex issue for disciplinary panels to hear. Panelists for sexual misconduct cases complete additional training provided by the Division of Student Affairs before they can serve on a specialized panel for sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct complaints are heard by faculty and staff who are appointed to the Student Conduct Committee and are selected by the vice president for student affairs to serve on sexual misconduct cases. Sexual misconduct panels are chaired by the associate dean for judicial affairs (if associate dean is not available, an alternate chair will be appointed by the vice president for student affairs). The three-person sexual misconduct panel will consist of the chair and two other members. All disciplinary hearings are closed to the public and are limited to College representatives on the hearing panel, the victim, the respondent, advisers and witnesses. The College does not allow character witnesses to attend any disciplinary hearings.
Respondents may wish to appeal decisions of the administrative hearing panel. To initiate an appeal, the student must submit a written request for an appeal to the vice president for student affairs within four (4) business days of notification of the results of the hearing.
Flow Chart for Sexual Misconduct & Bias-Related Harassment Hearings
- Victim Files Written Complaint with College
- College Conducts Investigation (If additional information is needed)
- Initial Conference Occurs With Respondent (Complainant Notified)
- Panel Chair Reviews all Written Statements And Rules on Relevancy
- Hearing Occurs
- Panel Drafts Decision – sent to Respondent and Complainant
- Complainant provided with opportunity to respond to draft decision
- Panel Renders Final Decision – Informs Both Respondent and Complainant
- Respondent May Choose to Appeal to Vice President for Student Affairs
F. Rendering Disciplinary Decisions Regarding Sexual Misconduct
Disciplinary panels for sexual misconduct will draft a preliminary decision and send it to the complainant and respondent for their review. At that time, the complainant may elect to provide a written impact statement on the draft decision before it is finalized by the panel. This statement must be submitted to the chair of the Panel within four (4) days of receipt of the draft decision. Thereafter, the panel will render a final decision. No disciplinary action shall be taken unless it is established by a preponderance of evidence upon the record considered as a whole that the accused student has committed the charged offense.